An Antidote for Stress
There is one simple but profound reality that might have made a big difference for me as a mother … if I had the wisdom and maturity to have grasped it when I was swimming in children, chores, and Cheerios. I’ll explain why I say only “might” later.
Just a few months ago I learned about two Iranian women imprisoned for their Christian faith in the notorious Evin prison in Iran’s capital city, Tehran. Miraculously they had a few sweet pages of the Bible–only the Gospel of Luke–to help sustain them during their imprisonment. This inspired me to read through Luke as if it were the only portion of the Bible I owned.
In Luke 11 I found the Lord’s Prayer, the simple pattern Jesus gave His disciples to follow when they asked Him how to pray. Having memorized this prayer as a child, I began to glaze over as I read it.
Then I paused at the line, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I realized these two young women in prison needed this prayer desperately. They needed strength to bear their interrogations, favor with guards for their food, grace to endure cruelty from fellow prisoners, and hope to believe that someday they would be released.
My life is nothing like theirs, but I have many days when I need strength for the day, grace to endure criticism or complaints, favor when I’m really trying to live a God-pleasing life, and hope that God will guide my every step every day. Our circumstances may be radically different, but our needs are similar and of equal concern to the Father.
So I began praying this prayer every day. Not woodenly, but specifically asking for the bread I needed for that day while also asking for the bread He alone knew I would need for the unknowns to come. None of us knows when we awake each morning what purposes or divine interruptions await. In these last three months I have discovered greater freedom from worry—a big issue for me—and a greater ease with the daily stress that comes from multiple interruptions. He will supply what I need when I both ask Him and let Him work.
But that is the problem for this first-born type A: letting God lead, supply, and provide. I became super responsible as a mom because I had to manage so many details for so many lives. But that bled over into my relationship with God, resulting in my tendency to be too high control.
That’s why I said “might” at the beginning of this post. In the middle of all my mothering, would I have slowed down enough to contemplate this profound truth? Would I have shrugged it off as too simplistic for my complicated life? Would I have tried it one or two days, found it didn’t work, and then given up, satisfied that my life was too hard for God or that He had more important things to attend to than little ‘ol me? I regret to say lots of insecurity, fears, and just plain unbelief kept me from experiencing the wonder of God at work in my life too often.
But as my friend Jennie Allen says in her book Anything, what if we risk believing that what God says is really true? What if we take Him at His word? It’s what I did when I began praying this prayer Jesus taught, and I’ve been amazed to see what He has done with my little faith. I hope you will try it too. I would have been a better mother if I had only started sooner.